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Arsenal, Tottenham, Man U and Liverpool united against Chelsea, Man C, WBA and Fulham

By Tony Attwood

For the AAA it is just an excuse, for some it is just plain boring, but for a few of us it continues to be just about the most important issue in football.

It is, of course, financial fair play.

I mention it yet again today because Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United and Liverpool have joined together to put in a demand that the type of legislation that is being phased in by Uefa to control spending, and which now exists throughout the Football League, is now introduced into the Premier League.

The demand is in the form of a co-signed letter to Richard Scudamore demanding that all clubs be required to break even.  As such the demand goes some way beyond the requirements of Uefa (which only apply to clubs that are “invited” to be in the Champions League or Europa League).

The latest thinking is that while Manchester City and Chelsea are against such controls, most of the other clubs will agree on a deal next month, which will restrict the amount of losses that can be covered by the club’s benefactor.

Chelsea, of course, have oft claimed to be one of the instigators of FFP in Europe, but their slip from the high life in terms of the League last season, has meant that they have been spending again, and that means that are back in the opposition camp.

The letter from Arsenal, Tottenham, Man U and Liverpool thanks Mr Scudamore for his work on reforming the Financial Regulations of the Premier League.  It then continues…

“However, we do not feel that the latest proposals go far enough to curb the inflationary spending which is putting so much pressure on clubs across the entire League.

“We continue to believe that to be successful and have the best chance of gaining at least the 14 votes necessary, any proposals for Financial Regulation must include meaningful measures to restrict the owner funding of operating losses.”

Aside from Man City and Chelsea the objections to the whole set-up also come from West Bromwich Albion and Fulham.   Fulham are clearly dependent on their owner, although the WBA situation is less clear, and it might be that WBA expect to be able to sell to a rich buyer in the near future.

This leaves 12 clubs who are willing to vote in favour of some sort of compromise.   Add in the four signatories to the January Letter and that’s enough to get that resolution through.

One club that has changed sides (or at least it seems so to me – several clubs are not revealing their position that clearly) is Wigan Athletic who reported a net profit of £4.3m for the financial year ending on 31 May 2012.

This is the first time in six years that they have made a profit – and although it does not wipe out the loss of £7.2m recorded in the previous year it is the step that the owner of the club has been looking for.

The profit at Wigan came from a higher turnover and a cut in salaries plus the sale of Charles N’Zogbia to Aston Villa which gave them a profit on player sales.

The Wigan debt is also down through ploughing the profit into reducing the debt and the conversion of £48m of the debt into equity.

The profit will be re-invested into improving training facilities during the next year.  FFP in Europe excludes such investment when profit and loss is calculated, and it is fairly certain that Wigan and some other clubs will require this to be written into FFP in the Premier League.

Quite what the league will do if Chelsea and Man City continue to spend without restriction is another matter.

In the Football League Financial Fair Play started in all three divisions from the beginning of the 2012/13 season.

In the Championship, clubs have agreed to introduce a break-even approach based on the UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations while in League 1 and League 2, clubs will implement the Salary Cost Management Protocol (SCMP) that has been in use in the latter division since 2004/05. The SCMP broadly limits spending on total player wages to a proportion of each club’s turnover.

In the Championship clubs must stay within pre-defined limits on losses and shareholder equity investment that will reduce significantly over the next five seasons.   As in Europe investment in youth development, community activities, stadium development and promotion related bonus payments are excluded.
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The books…

The sites…

21 comments to Arsenal, Tottenham, Man U and Liverpool united against Chelsea, Man C, WBA and Fulham

  • Ren Vassilliou

    What does this really mean to the supporter ,Sweet FA if you ask me , being an Arsenal fan for 45 years I have seen ups and downs at Arsenal and compared to now my opinion is if you got it why not , every dog has his day and you do guarantee that because you have a big bank that you are going to win everything .For Arsenal that don’t matter because we have a guy in charge that runs everything on a tight rope.. even if we had the money he would still do things the same . I have said time and time again we have the wrong man in for doing the transfer dealing Gazidies needs to go as quick as he came we don’t need his kind at the clubsame goes for Kroenke they should both pack their bags and get on the next bus out of here.. WE WANT OUR ARSENAL BACK..

  • FunGunner

    Hi, Tony

    This is interesting. Do you know if Scudamore is likely to comply with this request? There seems to be a majority in favour and bearing in mind his stance on ticket prices, you would hope yes.

  • steve

    Does anybody know how this letter got into the media?

  • Mike T

    What is interesting is that bar Spuds, the three shakers and movers are all owned by Yanks.
    I am sort of suprised that Arsenal are getting drawn into this and would suggest that they would have been better placed in letting Man U & Liverpool fight their own battle
    FFP will not stop RA just as the max wage in football didnt stop players getting far more.
    Of course their needs to be some sort of controls but what clubs will be votig for is to allow Man U to own the EPL title quite simply no one else will be able to compete with them.
    As they say beware what you wish for

  • Stu

    Don’t know why the Woolwich travelling community club want this to be implimented, they need to buy half a new team to compete over the next five years. Wenger is shooting himself in his hoof.

  • GoonerVance

    We live in a debt ridden world (over 100 trillion worldwide). You have debt. I have debt. Most people have debt greater than what they earn in a year. These football clubs can generate hundreds of millions in revenue, so why can’t they have debt. What makes you think a football club will ever run different than any other business in the world. All of whom have DEBT.

    Hanging on to FFP is so unfathomably naive and pathetic, I almost feel like I’m reading a blog written by someone from a different planet. There are always ways to get around rules. We are doing it right now with Walcott;s contract. Yes he will only make 90,000 a week, but we are giving him sign-on bonuses to make up the difference. It’s all fake. We are fakes!!!!!

    It’s the people on this blog that give Wenger and the board cover. You are being taken for fools by those who never followed the rules when they rose to the top. Wenger is paid more than any player on the club. Why doesn’t he cap his wages as well?

    What’s worse? Walcott is holding Wenger hostage and showing the entire League how much of a spineless tosser Lord Wenger really is. Next thing you know Szczesny will be holding up Wenger to play holding midfielder. Walcott is not even that good. Get rid of any scum who would be selfish enough to not play in their best position. It is Wenger’s job to decide where Walcott is best deployed. Get rid of any German who can’t handle getting subbed off when you get a red card against Man City in the 9th minute. Everyone knows Oxlade should have stayed on when we went down to ten men. He is versatile fast and has the ability to make something happen, but Podolski probably came to this club expecting a role up front as well.

    Call me AAA. I don’t care, just don’t lump me in with you lot, because I ain’t blind.

  • Andy Kelly

    Martin Samuels of the Daily Mail appears to have broken this story and explains why he believes that Arsenal have allied themselves with the other 3.

  • FunGunner

    Debt is fine if you can afford to service it, and better if it has been incurred to buy something which will in itself benefit you eg a new stadium, and better still if you can pay back what you owe. The debts that Chelsea and Man City would have, if their owners had not converted their “loans” into equity or forgiven the loans or overpaid for commercial contracts, would be far greater than the clubs’ income or possibly their total value. That’s where the unfairness lies – a mid-range club can spend like a superclub because of money pumped in by the owners.

    @ Tony
    I have a historical question for you : when DF loaned the club money, was his money repaid, or did he take payment in shares, or what?

  • Andy Kelly

    When did Fiszman lend the club money?

    Are you sure you’re not confusing it with when Fiszman bought shares from Dein so that he could pay off money that he owed?

  • Gouresh

    @Goonervance: your points are valid, the only thing is that if you u have debt more than you can pay back…you are asking for trouble.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Thanks for the link Marcus

    It took them a few years to see what we have been writing for years… better late than never

  • Stuart

    GoonerVance,

    The problem is not debt, the problem is having more debt than your turnover would allow you to repay. Some clubs have debt over 100% of annual turnover, that’s not healthy or sustainable and just one or two clubs going to the wall will affect everyone with unpayable transfer fees etc…

  • johan

    FFP is a joke. It is a scheme put in place so that the current elite clubs will always stay as elite clubs.

    It will effectively mean that no smaller club can invest in making themselves bigger. If a rich person who has supported a club all their life decides to spend some of their money on said club it will not be allowed.

    And it isn’t fair unless some sort calculation is brought in to equalise factors that vary due to location, supporter numbers etc.

    The scheme the US owners want is to be able to not put any money in while their asset appreciates and they can make profits as well. They don’t own a football club because they like football but rather as an asset that brings them more wealth.

  • Linz

    Everton,QPR,West Ham and Sunderland have already indicated they will vote against this,making 8 clubs in total. West Broms objection is based on philosophical grounds, with Jeremy Peace saying noone has the right to dictate to people how they spend their own money.On the subject of Danny Fizsman,he put in 50 mill ,which was never repaid,in the 90’s.Arsenal were about to lose the back 4 and Seaman because they were underpaid relative to other leading players in the league,and were multiple trophy winners to boot.This money secured their services and paid for the Bergkamp,Platt,Overmars,Petit and Viera transfers,as Arsenal didn’t have a pot to piss in at the time.All this has been recently confirmed on the radio by Parlour,and i recall Tony Adams talking about it in an article a few years back.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I just cannot fanthom how people claim that debt is good as ‘everybody ‘ will be in the same boat and ergo, we’ll all be saved.God wouldn’t forsake us if all are in the same ark .
    Would He ?
    How do you even contemplate that the club/owner must spend their money the way you like them to and get in deep doodoo
    just so that you could have bragging rights at the pub /office/dole queue ?
    What is your share in this ‘deal’ ? Undivided loyality ? Or just an unjustified sense of entitlement ? Or are you going to do the right thing by backing the club to the hilt or even contribute from you piggybank ,allowance or paycheck ?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    The attitude of so called fans’ actions can be encapsulated in the following clip from Man.URE Vs ManShitty game’s last minute freekick. Watch it then ask yourself ,”Which of these am I ?”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNLjjE7Md6w

    1) Tavez ? -Fuck this , that patch of grass seems more greener and safer , get me out of here !

    2) Nasri ?- Steady lads , hold your positions ,be firm . Screw this ,I ‘m going to look out for my self and save my head and balls but will stick out a foot to help the cause !
    3) Or the other 2 in the wall ,betrayed by cowardice ?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Wisdom

    “It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”

    — Thomas Jefferson

  • Adam

    The implemented rules for the lower leagues will become a serious problem for relegated clubs, this is where you may find some clubs logic in resisting, as it goes against their current plans and will undoubtedly set them back years if relegated.

  • uk

    Well this isn’t the first time such proposals have been made, however I thnk the counter argument has always been clubs like man utd and liverpool spent money they didn’t have to get where they are, and now they have the ill gotten advantage, want to restrict others from attaining such priviledge so as to maintain their monopoly at the top.
    My guess is, the complaining clubs hav a (losing) fight on their hands

  • FunGunner

    @ Andy Kelly
    I don’t know! I’ve just seen this floating around the internet and I wanted to get to the bottom of it and hopec Tony would know.